Black Women – We Deserve Better

I watched a Black woman get thrown into a dumpster on Tuesday.

I was minding my business on Twitter when I saw the video. There she was talking when a group of boys in the District physically picked her up and threw her in a nearby dumpster. Their laughter grew loud as she lay in the trash, crying and paralyzed with embarrassment.

In that moment, I saw myself in her and all I could feel was disappointment.

It’s a feeling a lot of Black women have learned to carve out space for at an early age. We’re born into the sad reality that no one is going to protect or care for us. Similar to trash, society discards us and our problems to avoid yet another uncomfortable conversation at the intersection of gender, race and class. It happens every time a Black girl is adultified, overpoliced, denied an opportunity, and when we attempt to report a crime or assault and are asked, “Are you sure this really happened to you?”  Sometimes we are talked out of it because, “You know how the police treats Black boys and men.”

The disposal of Black women and girls has been clearly documented since the beginning of time. It continues today with ever-present and jaw-dropping statistics which are readily available and accessible to all. If it helps, you can reach for your Aunt Jemima syrup, and add a little more sweetness to this bitter reality, but it won’t change anything. As the civil unrest continues to unfold, society is finally addressing the systemic racist elephant in the room, yet the urgency around Black women and girls moves sadly at a snail’s pace.  

When 19-year-old activist Oluwatoyin Salau, tweeted about her sexual assault, no one did anything until she was found dead. She, who had so passionately defended and protected Black lives was left vulnerable and unprotected. Now she is another hashtag added to an ever-growing list. 

Breonna Taylor‘s murder still has not been answered for as her case continues to languish was so low on the list, we had to celebrate her 27th birthday, without her, to prove that her life was worth living.

In our own region, Black women, girls, trans and gender expansive individuals are last on the list for jobs, assistance, relief efforts and are currently experiencing the worst of the pandemic. We contribute the most to society and receive the least in return. To be honest, I am disappointed, but even more, I am hurt.

What if instead of last, we conjured a world where Black women and girls were put first? A world where chocolate girls with brown eyes and kinky hair got amber alert status, a world where Black women didn’t have to choose between their safety and their solidarity? A world where no one would ever think to throw a Black girl in a dumpster, because the repercussions would be swift and heavy.

I truly believe the outcome can change if we collectively do something. Where to start is simple: LOVE US OUT LOUD. Black women are fighting a long battle to dismantle a system we didn’t create and it’s backbreaking work we didn’t necessarily ask to do. We need allies to scream louder for us so that we can thrive and not just survive.

INVEST IN US. The media is finally telling our storIes, companies are reaching out to increase their diversity, people are saying buy Black, and actually doing it, but we need you for the long haul. Once the protestors go home, and things start to quiet down, you still need to be there.

At The Women’s Foundation, it’s part of our mission to center the lived experience of Black women and girls in our work but we can only succeed if you join us. Our Stand Together Fund, which tackles the issue of sexual and domestic violence, and elder and child care workers, is a new collective effort where we can all invest in more positive outcomes and a better, more just future.

To the Black women who are discarded, who are tired but don’t quit, the women who fight for the people who don’t protect them, and the ones who just need a hug while on the frontlines — YOU deserve better.

There is always more that we can do, but it is a collective effort  where we stand together and remind ourselves that Black women matter too.

Mercy Chikowore is a Black woman and Communications Manager for Washington Area Women’s Foundation, where she executes the organization’s communications and branding strategies.

#AskHer Series: Hanh Le, Executive Director, Weissberg Foundation

Our new #AskHer series is an interview with our partners, community members and supporters who work tirelessly for women and girls. Our latest interview is with Hanh Le, Executive Director of the Weissberg Foundation. The interview was conducted by our Communications Manager, Mercy Chikowore.

As we navigate our way through the ongoing global pandemic, there are various social issues that have also emerged. Sparked by the origin of the virus in Wuhan, China, the media, along with racial justice organizations have seen an uptick in racist attacks and discrimination towards members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

As we close Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and to better understand the aforementioned injustices, we talked to Hanh Le, Executive Director of the Weissberg Foundation. Her answers to our questions shine the light on what some members of the AAPI community may be experiencing right now and how our community can be supportive during this crisis.

Mercy Chikowore: Can you tell me a little about yourself you/your organization?

Hanh Le: I’m the Executive Director of the Weissberg Foundation. We are a small family foundation based in Rosslyn in Arlington, VA, and we center our efforts on advancing racial equity, primarily in the DC region and also a few states where we have a strong trustee presence, so Wisconsin, New Mexico and New York. I’ve been working with the Weissberg family for four years, but the foundation has been around for 30 years. We are proud that we’re a small–small staff, relatively small board, and have a relatively small grantmaking budget. It allows us to be super connected to each other, to our partners, and to our work and also to be able to move fairly quickly and nimbly.

Personally, I’ve been in DC 17 years now, but I was born in Vietnam and grew up in Virginia where our family was resettled after the fall of Saigon. I consider all three of those places–DC, Virginia and Vietnam–home, they are all intrinsically part of me. I am of Vietnam and also of the DMV region. Given that the large part of my career has been working for national nonprofit organizations, it’s deeply meaningful to me to now focus my work in this place I call home.

MC: Glad you can call the DMV home! How have you/your organization had to shift to continue to support your grantee partners right now?

HL: In terms of our strategy, it’s been more of a leaning in to really dig deeper and center our work even more on our existing values, which are listening and learning; building power and community; and equity and justice.  We are also leaning into our core strategies, only one of which is funding. A lot of people think that foundations just give money, and that is certainly an important part of what we do. However, in addition to funding, we have what we call our ABC strategies, because they are so fundamental to our work.

The A is for Amplification, making sure we use our voice, our platform, our connections to uplift stories, narratives, work, efforts that need to be amplified. The B is for Building Capacity, certainly building the capacity of our grantee partners to be able to achieve their missions more effectively, but also building the capacity of the philanthropic sector to operate more equitably and effectively, and then building our own internal capacity as an organization and individuals to do the same. And the C is for Collaboration, and that means not only supporting collaboration among grantee partners but also working more collaboratively with funding and other partners to organize for collective action.

I’m so thankful that we’ve been on this journey of clarifying our values and strategies and really deepening our analysis of structural racism and racial equity over the last several years because it has allowed us to act pretty quickly and with clarity of purpose in this crisis.

MC: Transparency and clarity are both key. What should people know about you/your organization during this pandemic that they may not otherwise read or hear about?

HL: I’ve been asked to speak a lot on webinars for the philanthropic community and to talk to peers and grantee partners to share how we’ve responded to COVID-19, centering equity and with a trust-based approach. This is a part of our change strategy for sure, but I don’t want it to be perceived by others or by us as a foundation, that we have got it all figured out. We definitely do not. We’re trying to do the best we can and share that transparently in the hopes that others can learn what might work well, what might not work so well, and just get conversations about power, race and equity into mainstream dialogue. It’s not about lifting ourselves up or being lifted up as exemplars, it’s about just saying hey, we’ve been given this platform and we’re going to use it to advocate for equity.

Anyone who is engaged in racial equity work knows that it’s not an end state. It’s a constant effort to learn, understand, find meaning, and act in ways that are going to be effective. We as individuals at the Foundation, as well as an institution, still have a lot of work to do to deepen our understanding of racial equity and the impact of how we’re working with each other and our grantee partners. And it’s very personal, and that can be really hard especially when there’s anxiety and uncertainty in your environment, home, community, and the world.

MC: Have people reacted to or maybe come to you for something you never thought about because of the pandemic?

HL: I think a lot of people reach out to me because of my identity as an Asian American woman, an immigrant and the different hats I wear–running a foundation, being on board of Asian American LEAD (AALEAD), my deep involvement with the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). I think a lot of people have reached out to me recently especially because of the heightened visibility of anti-Asian racism and discrimination caused by harmful rhetoric around COVID-19. That’s not been surprising but it’s also, like gosh, I’m not an expert in all things Asian. I get “rep sweats,” or representation sweats. Am I speaking for the entire Asian community? I don’t feel equipped to do that, but I can definitely share my experiences and perspectives. If I’m given the platform and asked, then I’ll take the opportunity to amplify things that I think will advance racial and intersectional equity, but those rep sweats are real.

MC: Rep sweats, yes, I think I can relate and also, we are now ‘one of those people’ who reached out to you. So as COVID-19 has unfortunately spread across the United States, so have reports of racist attacks against people of Asian descent. What have you seen or heard in the Washington region regarding these attacks towards this population?

HL: There are incidents of racism that Asian healthcare providers are facing, trying to support people through this crisis and at the same time people refusing treatment from them because they’re Asian or saying rude, racist things to them. Also, people out and about just living their lives with their children, buying groceries, walking their dogs being spit upon or told to “go home, go back to your country.” It’s a microaggression that hits really hard, because this is our country.

Through AALEAD, I know our staff are doing a lot around ensuring that youth are supported around identity, anti-bullying, and mental health. We all know that the crisis is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health, but I imagine particularly on youth and youth of color. Even if they have not experienced the direct hate and racism because of their identity, there’s the anxiety and knowledge that it’s happening. And they’re seeing it on the news coming right from our President.

MC: What do you think spurred this discrimination in regards to the pandemic?

HL: I’m pretty sure the President insisting on calling COVID-19 “the Wuhan virus” has done a lot to spur how people are connecting the pandemic to Asian Americans. This racist rhetoric simply aggravates the bigotry and racism that has been a part of our American history of anti-nativism, anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and, yes, anti-Asian racism.

The Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese Americans, the murder of and denial of justice for Vincent Chin. People have likely heard of Japanese internment, maybe some have heard of the Chinese Exclusion Act, probably fewer know about Vincent Chin, but this is all American history, and it’s history that’s important for certainly Asian Americans to know but all Americans to know. And it’s important to know the context of this Asian-American history within a broader context of our racialized US history and how the treatment of Asians is closely linked to the treatment of Black people in America, laborers in America, farmworkers in America,. Asians have both benefited from and been oppressed by the false hierarchy of Black and White in America. Asian Americans have been used intentionally as a wedge between Black and White, but the more we are knowledgeable about that, the more we as Asian Americans can claim our power, shape our own narratives, and stand in true solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.

MC: Do you think the attacks and attitudes are towards all Asian populations?

HL: That’s part of the complexity with this concept of “Asian American.” Asia has so many different countries and ethnicities. Asian Americans have found power in solidarity, in being joined together under this broad banner of “Asian American,” it brings power in community and a platform. But there’s also this invisibilization of the distinctness of the different types of Asian identities that are represented by Asian Americans, and often people don’t see that. Most people wouldn’t know if someone is Chinese or Korean or Vietnamese, because of stereotypes, lack of knowledge, and this general grouping of Asian Americans.

With COVID-19 and because of the connection to China many people are going to simply assume or assert that if you’re Asian you’re a threat.

There are all these narratives and stories that people make up of others that they don’t now about. So how do we tell our own narrative, reclaim our story and how do we educate others? When you look at data disaggregated by race, those with the “best” outcomes are often White, and not far behind are often Asian Americans, and then you see the huge disparate gaps for Black and/or Latinx individuals.  When you start disaggregating Asians by country of origin or immigrant status, you see that some of the worst outcomes are in distinct segments of the population, like Southeast Asian communities. This isn’t about oppression Olympics, but it demonstrates how the lumping together of Asian Americans is powerful in some ways and also harmful in others.

MC: Do you think the anti-Asian sentiment is affecting women more than men?

HL: This is where it’s helpful to bring an intersectional analysis to the pandemic. When you start thinking of disproportionate impact, a lot of women work in the care industry and/or a lot of women are the primary caretakers of their household and balancing work and all the other commitments that women typically hold. So I do think in terms of impact, Asian women are bearing a heavier burden of the pandemic than Asian men might be.

MC: What is your advice to anyone dealing with these type of attacks?

HL: These anti-Asian attacks are everything from the violent to microaggressive. So, the first thing I’ll say is if you are experiencing or witnessing violence or potential violence, do whatever you need to do to ensure safety and necessary support, whether it’s legal, police, counseling–whatever you need to be safe.

In terms of how to deal with them non-violent attacks, I’ll share a “do” and a “don’t.”

DO: When CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked President Trump a question about the pandemic but not at all related to China, his response was, “Maybe it’s a question you should ask China.” Clearly a microaggression. Jiang’s response was, “Why are saying that to me specifically?” That’s a tactic I’ve learned to employ when someone has done or said something racist, asking them, “help me understand why you said/did that?” This puts the onus on the person to speak for—and hopefully reckon with—what they did and why they did it.

DON’T: There’s this horrible piece that Andrew Yang wrote in The Washington Post in April, about how Asians need to show that we are more American than ever, like we’re not the cause of the problem but we can be part of the solution. It was so problematic because it was essentially buying into and perpetuating anti-Asian stereotypes—the perpetual foreigners, model minorities, and/or quiet and timid.

There’s nothing more American than speaking up for what we believe, speaking up when we think that an injustice is being perpetuated. I encourage Asian Americans to be speaking up for ourselves, for our community members, for our friends, and to be bold and public about it. And we need to speak up when we witness racism against non-Asian people of color as well.

MC: Speaking up about injustice should be the case for everyone for sure. In your opinion, what steps can we take to combat these attitudes and behaviors?

HL: I’ve seen some powerful, more public displays of solidarity between AAPI and Black and Latinx leaders, in racial justice movements. So speaking up in allyship, in solidarity and understanding that even though our struggles are very different, there’s a lot that we share in common, that our liberation is deeply interconnected, and that there’s a lot we can do together to advance more equitable outcomes for all of our communities.

Just like the AAPI community is not a monolith in terms of our cultural identity, languages, religion, etc., we’re also not a monolith around our racial equity analysis. I’m seeing more mainstream Asian Americans wanting to learn more and speak honestly about our history, our own internalized racism, anti-Blackness in our community and how that plays out. I think the AAPI community being targeted in this pandemic, alongside the disparate impact on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous lives, is an opportunity for a lot of self-work in addition to the external education that needs to happen with it.

AAPIP has a Statement on Racial Equity in Philanthropy that speaks to how AAPIs are a significant and diverse part of America’s multicultural fabric; we fight for racial justice and equity; we stand in solidarity with fellow communities of color; and we are partners in philanthropy’s pursuit of racial equity. How do we constantly live into this?

In this very moment, there is an urgent need for Asian Americans to speak up and act up against the extreme violence against Black lives. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are currently in the headlines, and there have been so many other brutal murders of Black people – we cannot be bystanders. In the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Asian American officer Tou Thao literally stood by and watched it happen. By not speaking and acting up against racism, by not being anti-racist, we continue to perpetuate it.

Activist Michelle Kim wrote a piece on Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now that I recommend checking out.

MC: In terms of your team, is this something you discuss often? Is there something you’re working on internally around the anti-Asian sentiment? 

HL: The Weissberg Foundation is committed to advancing people of color-led organizations and efforts that are building power and making change for racial justice. We center that on fighting anti-Black racism. Something I struggle with is how I as an Asian American leading work to ensure that resources are being directed to organizations centering their work on fighting anti-Black racism and that are led by Black and brown people balance both not favoring and not be biased against Asian issues and organizations? In the past, not knowing how to navigate this tension has caused me to not advocate as strongly and publicly for AAPIs as I should have. I talk very openly with my staff and board about this internal struggle, and they’re incredibly supportive of understanding and supporting me to use my voice, and lift up all these communities we care about, including the AAPI community I identify with.

MC: What do your grantee partners need right now, and maybe looking six months out, what do you think this space will need when society enters the reconstruction phase of the pandemic?

HL: Obviously, nonprofits need continued sustained financial resources to support acute relief needs the pandemic has exacerbated, but also their core mission work, which for most of our grantee partners is advocacy, organizing and civic engagement for systems change and the infrastructure needed to do their mission work effectively. A big part of that will be working more virtually internally and as a way to engage community. In addition to providing financial resources, how do we help nonprofits think about financial models and revenues that are going to serve them well? Foundations also need to start thinking about what funding—from philanthropy and government—looks like for 2021 and beyond, and help our nonprofit partners both advocate for and prepare for that.

Ultimately, trust is what our nonprofit partners really need; they know their communities best and they know how best to do their work. As funders, we can trust that and find out how we can best leverage our resources to support them. The Weissberg Foundation is part of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, which is advocating for things that nonprofits have been telling us they’ve needed for a long time–multi-year support, unrestricted support, streamlined paperwork, centering community–all these things that make for stronger relationships between funders and grantee partners. I think we’re seeing more funders implementing trust-based practices because of the emergency nature of the crisis. Our hope is that we continue to practice a trust-based approach to philanthropy in the long-term.

MC: What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned as a result of the pandemic thus far? 

HL: I’m not sure about new lessons learned, but I’ve certainly gotten affirmation and a kick in the rear about what’s important. One thing is that we need go harder on fighting for systemic change for racial equity. As funders, we need to go beyond funding, and be advocating, and building capacity and collaborating for transformative change.

Another thing and even more fundamental, is that it’s all about people. People can be deeply problematic and concerning and hateful and bad, but people can also be amazingly resilient, and innovative and supportive and caring and empathetic. That’s what brings me the most faith and inspiration–the people. Everyone from my family and friends, to our grantee partners, fellow funders, some government leaders, and mostly community members who are doing all they can to take care of those around them.

There are people that are fighting really, really hard and going above and beyond to ensure that we come out of this in a way that reduces the harm, ensures that everyone is taken care of–especially our most vulnerable populations, and creates a new, more just and equitable reality. When it’s all said and done, it boils down to our humanity. 

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative Announces RFP for 2020 Giving Cycle

Washington Area Women’s Foundation is pleased to release an open request for proposals for funding from the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative for its 2020 Giving Cycle.

The Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative

The Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC), housed at Washington Area Women’s Foundation, launched in 2008 as a multi-year collective investment effort. Its mission is to increase the quality and capacity of, and access to, early care and education in the Washington region, with the goal of reducing school readiness gaps among populations of our youngest children. The ECEFC is supported and directed by corporate funders and local and national foundations. Our target geographic area includes Washington, DC; Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia; the City of Alexandria, Virginia; and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.

2020 Giving Cycle

With the 2020 Giving Cycle the ECEFC will invest in organizations and/or organizational partnerships that contribute to systems change in the early care and education space while utilizing a racial equity framework and demonstrating a holistic view of child development.

Specifically, the ECEFC is committed to working on and investing in projects in the region that:

  • Improve early childhood systems infrastructure,
  • Work to ensure families have access to high quality early education programs, and
  • Help early educators effectively meet the needs of all children.

Examples of initiatives that are of interest to the ECEFC within each of the three strategic areas include:

  • Effective Systems
    • Early childhood systems alignment across health and education agencies,
    • Promotion of developmentally appropriate kindergarten readiness tools that include social-emotional development,
    • Increased financing of early education systems tied to program quality, family needs, and educator compensation,
  • Family Access
    • Expanding access to and/or increasing the value of child care subsidies to families,
    • Increasing the number of high-quality, culturally responsive early education classrooms and/or programs in high-need neighborhoods,
  • Strong Educators
    • Elevating the early care and education workforce through professionalization, professional development and technical assistance,
    • Lifting up the family child care community as important contributors to the early care and education system.

Successful proposals will demonstrate how their organization’s work or project will:

  • Contribute to quality improvements across multiple programs and/or multiple jurisdictions,
  • Increase program capacity to effectively support all children across multiple programs and/or multiple jurisdictions; and/or
  • Work to reduce barriers for families to access quality programs across neighborhoods and/or the region.

Successful proposals will also work to address disparate outcomes for children, families, and educators with regard to race and ethnicity and demonstrate how their organization’s work or project works to ensure race, culture, class, and ability equity across early education systems.

The ECEFC seeks to award $365,000 in grants this giving cycle to multiple projects across the DC region. Typically, the ECEFC awards between six to eight grants per giving cycle. The average grant awarded in last year’s cycle was $37,600.

All proposal submissions should be for a one-year grant period beginning January 1, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020.

2020 Funding Proposal

Prospective applicants are required to participate in one of two information session webinars prior to submitting a proposal. Use this link to sign up for one of the webinar sessions: [insert link].

Upon completion of the information session webinar, you will receive the application questions and guidelines and may submit your organization’s proposal for funding. Proposals can be submitted either by a single organization or as a partnership or collaboration across two or more organizations.

Grant Timeline

Applicant Information Session Webinars (Prospective applicants must attend one.) August 13th at 9:30 am or August 14th at 1:30 pm (Click here to RSVP for a session.)
Proposals Due September 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Site Visits (Pending Selection After Proposal Review) October 23 – November 22, 2019
Notification of Award December 20, 2019
Grant Period January 1 – December 31, 2020

 

Additional Information

Please direct all inquiries to The Women’s Foundation program staff at programs@wawf.org or 202.347.7737.

Recap: Washington Area Women’s Foundation 20th Anniversary Luncheon

Washington Area Women’s Foundation hosted its annual Leadership Luncheon on October 30, celebrating 20 years and raising over $877,000.  The Foundation honored youth activist Naomi Wadler, who delivered an inspiring speech about the importance of voting. The Luncheon also featured an opening performance by Largo High School Band and a special performance by The Women’s Foundation’s Young Women’s Advisory Council and F.R.E.S.H.H. Inc.

The Leadership Luncheon focused on celebrating and highlighting the work of The Women’s Foundation over the past two decades. The organization highlighted the first Leadership Awardee, Marta Urquilla, Chief Program Officer at the Education Design Lab and former Executive Director of Sister to Sister/Hermana a Hermana. She discussed the impact of the first award saying, “When the Women’s Foundation called us in 1998, it wasn’t the small grant we received that mattered most. It was that the Women’s Foundation SAW us. And in turn, we SAW ourselves and our own success in creating a future where all girls would thrive.”

Young leaders age 12-24 from Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) and Griot Girls of FRESHH Inc Theatre Company performed. The script was developed from the experience of the participating young women with the topic: leadership.

“It takes leadership and intentionality to bring together our community to work toward solutions, and that’s what Washington Area Women’s Foundation has done for 20 years. And it’s what brings us together today. In many ways, we’ve come full circle, and as we look to the future, we will also be returning to our roots,” said Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO, Washington Area Women’s Foundation. “Next year, we will relaunch the Leadership Awards, providing general operating support to smaller organizations working to improve the economic security of women and girls, with a specific focus on women and girls of color.

After the first part of the program discussed young leaders, The Women’s Foundation honored one – Naomi Wadler. “When you are an activist at 12, and it is ONE WEEK, before the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION of certainly MY lifetime if not all of yours, well it’s frustrating,” said Naomi Wadler. “So I thought my shaved, orange hair might motivate all of you.  Motivate you to not only go out and vote because I can not, but to bring every single person you know with you. Truly, tell everyone you know that if some 12 year old girl can shave her head and dye it orange, the least they can do is go and vote!!”

The Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Luncheon was generously supported by Capital One, Deloitte, iHeartMedia, WASH.FM and Kaiser Permanente among others.

For more information about Washington Area Women’s Foundation or to donate, visit www.thewomensfoundation.org.

Rainmakers Giving Circle Releases 2018-19 Request For Proposals

Rainmakers Giving Circle (“Rainmakers”) is pleased to issue a request for proposals for its 2018-19 grantmaking cycle from nonprofit organizations serving economically vulnerable girls and young women age 24 or – younger living in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, Maryland or Arlington County, Virginia.

The Rainmakers’ mission is to improve the lives of the Targeted Population by supporting programs that help them develop useful life skills, improve their self-esteem and achieve their full potential. More specifically, Rainmakers will award grants to programs (each, an “Eligible Program”) that make a compelling case that they will achieve one or more of the following impacts (collectively, the “Desired Program Impacts”):

• Encourage the development of confidence and self-esteem, healthy behaviors and the reduction of risk factors among members of the Targeted Population;

• Increase the competence of members of the Targeted Population in the areas of education, health, interpersonal relations, financial management, employment readiness and prospects, and/or other important life skills; and/or

Provide legal services for the purpose of preventing incarceration or loss of housing or to enhance employment or housing prospects;

All grant funds must exclusively benefit economically vulnerable girls and young women age 24 and younger who reside in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, Maryland, or Arlington County, Virginia. Grant funds may not be used for co-educational programs.

Proposals are due no later than Monday, December 3, 2018 at 5 p.m.

To learn more about the RFP, click here!

New Report: Blueprint For Action

The Blueprint represents the collective voice of more than 250 young women, policymakers, philanthropists, scholars, service providers, and government officials, and provides guidance for policymakers, government entities, community based organizations, school districts, and funders on how to address challenges identified by young women of color living in the District.

The recommendations included in the Blueprint will guide our research, grantmaking, and advocacy, and we look forward to collaborating with young women and members of the community to implement these recommendations.

We invite you to read the Blueprint for Action following this link https://wawf.org/BlueprintForAction 

If you have questions or comments about the report or the Young Women’s Initiative, please reach out to Claudia Williams at cwilliams@wawf.org

New Report: Family Planning Community Needs Assessment

New Report: ‘Family Planning Community Needs Assessment’ for the

DC Family Planning Project (DCFPP)

The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW), with support from The Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust and Washington Area Women’s Foundation, conducted a community needs assessment for the DC Family Planning Project (DCFPP) aimed at providing an in-depth analysis of the family planning landscape for women aged 15–29 in DC. This comprehensive community assessment, which includes both primary and secondary data, was designed, implemented, and analyzed between July 2017 and May 2018.

Nationwide, the rate of unintended pregnancy, defined as those pregnancies that are mistimed or unwanted, is one of the highest in the developed world. Although the unintended pregnancy rate has been declining nationally and locally in recent years in the general population, disparities remain – particularly in the District of Columbia. Poor and low-income women continue to bear the brunt of this disparity.

Access to family planning services, including both privately and publicly funded services is one necessary component to reducing unintended pregnancies, and more importantly, to ensuring women and families in DC have the ability to plan if and when to have a child. At The Women’s Foundation, we won’t rest until all women, especially young women and girls of color, have equal access to economic security, safety and opportunity, which is why the Family Planning Community Needs Assessment report is important.

The report identifies gaps, barriers, and facilitators to family planning services and contraceptive utilization in DC. There are several key findings from this study that provide insights for both service delivery sites as well as for direct outreach to the community, including the following:

  • a disconnect between availability of contraceptive services and utilization of these services;
  • limited availability of adolescent-friendly services;
  • widespread confidentiality concerns regarding adolescent reproductive health services;
  • a significant number of sexually active adolescents and young women in DC who are not accessing
    reproductive health care at all;
  • low levels of knowledge of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods (which include
    intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants), particularly amongst 15–19 year-olds, non-Hispanic black
    adolescents/women and adolescents/women living in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8; and
  • negative perceptions and concerns about the safety, side effects, and comfort of LARC methods,
    which influence many women’s decisions regarding contraceptive methods.

The DCFPP, housed at The Women’s Foundation, will use the results of this needs assessment, along with the input of the DCFPP Community Advisory Board to develop interventions to reduce reproductive health disparities and improve reproductive health outcomes in DC.

To find out more, click here to read the full report!

Help Us Celebrate Our 20th Anniversary!

The time is now, to start doing. To stop sitting and start standing. To join us on the frontlines.  It is time to tap into your inner activist, standing up for what is right and just. We invite you to stand with us – to stand together – and to invite your friends to join us, too. This year, at Washington Area Women’s Foundation, we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary. To commemorate the women and girls who have benefited from our work, we want you to join the celebration by participating in our 20for20 Campaign starting on August 20th.

When we think of activists, we often think of someone who has organized sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement or protests like the iconic Women’s March. We think of someone who dedicates their entire life in service of others. But even the smallest acts of kindness or activism have a ripple effect on our communities.

Ask your friends to be an activist too through our 20for20 campaign. In the name of women and girls, we challenge you to get 20 of your friends to give $20 to the women and girls in our region who are living at or below the poverty line.

Tell them that their gift will help ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in the Washington metropolitan area have the resources they need to thrive. Washington Area Women’s Foundation will ensure that their gift supports the most effective strategies and programs that help women and girls save for their futures, obtain jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits, and access high-quality and affordable childcare. With the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, your donation never works alone, and it never stops working. Support women and girls as they reach for more.

And, we believe that being an activist should also be fun.  We think you deserve a weekend downtown at the Marriott Marquis, or possibly a night at the theater.  Thanks to our partners, you will be entered in a drawing for fantastic prizes simply by creating your fundraising page.  Then, you get even more chances as you reach your goal.

Click here to create your personal fundraising page, and when you do, you will get a chance to win a fabulous prize.

Then, starting on Monday, August 20th, do some fundraising —  when 20 of your friends give $20 you will meet your goal of $400.  When you reach $400 raised (even if one friend gives the full amount) we will add four more chances for you to win.  And, we will send you a STAND TOGETHER t-shirt, to thank you for standing with us.

Help us continue to set a strong foundation for the resilience and hope for the future of women and girls in the Washington Region!

We have exciting giveaways for all 20for20 Activists:

  • Setting up your personal fundraising page = 1 entry
  • Raising $400+ = 4 entries + 1 “Stand Together” T-shirt
  • All prize recipients will be selected at random.

Be a changemaker! Be an activist today!